Filipinos urged to join interfaith prayer on May 30

The government is urging Filipinos of all faiths to unite in prayer on Sunday for the country to overcome the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Rodrigo Duterte bows his head in prayer prior to the start of the 45th Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on January 6, 2020. (Malacañang)

An interfaith prayer assembly will be held Sunday, May 30, to seek the nation's protection and healing from the pandemic.

President Duterte is expected to join the prayer activity, called “The Whole Nation: Pray As One! Heal As One! Interfaith Prayer Meeting for the Nation," according to Presidential Adviser for Religious Affairs Grepor "Butch" Belgica.

The "blended" prayer event will be aired on government television as well as social media pages of various religious groups and media entities from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The President's hour will be held afterwards.

"Ang ating Pangulo ang nanawagan sa lahat po ng ating mga kababayan, anuman po ang inyong relihiyon, na makiisa sa 'Whole Nation: Pray as One, Heal as One' (The President is appealing to all our countrymen regardless of religious to join the 'Whole Nation: Pray as One, Heal as One')," Belgica said over government radio Saturday, May 29.

"Ang Pangulo bilang lider ng ating bayan ay siyang tanging makapangunguna sa atin upang tayo ay kahabagan ng Diyos, at ang atin pong ekonomiya ay umunlad at ang atin pong buong bansa ay magkaroon ng kapayapaan (The President, as the country's leader, will take the lead in praying for the Lord's mercy, for our economic recovery, and for peace in the entire country)," he said.

According to Belgica, the upcoming prayer event might draw participants as many as those who watch the boxing match of Senator Manny Pacquiao. The event is organized by Belgica's office in coordination with different religious groups in the country.

Around 10,000 people have already volunteered to mount the prayer meeting. Various local government officials are also expected to join the activity, Belgica said.

"Ang iba ay bumili pa nga ng mga air time para mag-hook up sa PTV 4 bukas. Kaya hindi po namin masabi, siguro baka kasing laki ito ng mga boksing ni Pacquiao na mag-aabang dahil 3 to 5, ito po iyong interfaith prayer meeting at ang President’s Hour na kung saan po ang Pangulo mismo ang mangunguna sa panalangin (Others have bought air time to hook up with PTV-4 so we cannot really say. It might be as big as the boxing match of Pacquiao. The interfaith meeting will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., followed by the President's hour where the President will lead the prayer)," he said.

A separate statement released by the Anti-Red Tape Authority said "prayers will be lifted for a stop to the pandemic, for the country’s economy to recover, and for peace and prosperity to reign."

The country has so far recorded a total of 1.216 million cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began last year. More than 20,000 people have died from the illness in the country.

The government has struggled to balance the protection of public health and economy as the deadly disease took a toll on lives and livelihood of Filipinos. The country has been placed in and out of lockdowns depending on the case surge in the country.

Recently, vaccination efforts have started amid government hopes to ease the coronavirus infections in the country. The country's next quarantine status will be known on Monday.